More Canadians living alone than ever before, census reveals


Statistics Canada has released information from the 2016 Census regarding households and marital status. Kendall Hanson has more on the number of Canadians living alone. 

Nanaimo resident Peter Golding is among the growing number of Canadians living alone.

Golding has decided to remain single since a divorce more than 20 years ago.

“I like living alone,” Golding said.  “I wouldn’t want to share digs with anyone even if it meant paying a quarter of the rent that I do.”

“I wouldn’t want to share digs with anyone even if it meant paying a quarter of the rent that I do.”

The latest census figures released by Statistics Canada show people living alone accounted for 28.2 per cent of all households across the country. That is the most since Confederation.

It’s also the first time people living alone is the most common household, surpassing couples with children.

Statistics Canada says one-person households has been rising steadily since Confederation. Income distribution, pensions and the increased presence of women in the workforce have led more people to be able to afford to live independently.

Other factors include higher separation and divorce rates and the ageing population.

“I actually am not alarmed at all by that,” said Cathy Holmes, a Coordinator at the Nanaimo Family Life Association. “I think that that’s a fairly accurate depiction of what’s happening in our community particularly as it relates to seniors.”

But more people living alone isn’t necessarily all good. At the Nanaimo Family Life Association, they have two programs to help people battle isolation which has been a growing problem.

“When you’re not socializing of course that brings on a lot of mental health issues that can often be associated with being, for prolonged periods of time, by yourself,” said Holmes. “Depression certainly being one of them.”

On the martial status front, Statistics Canada says while the majority of people get married, common law unions continue to increase. In 2016 they accounted for 21.3 per cent of couples. That’s more than three times the level in 1981.

For more information released by Statistics Canada check the following link.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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